Business Briefs

Posted on January 01, 2003

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The Storage Performance Council recently announced public availability of the SPC Benchmark-1 (SPC-1), the first industry-standard benchmark for enterprise storage systems. The benchmark gives end users a vendor-neutral process to compare and configure direct-attached or networked storage systems. For more information, visit www.storageperformance.org.

Kasten Chase has established the Secure Networked Storage Advisory Council to provide enterprise customers and storage industry leaders with a forum for dialogue about their evolving storage security requirements and to establish best practices for implementation of secure networked storage solutions.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has approved plans by Hitachi and IBM to combine their hard disk drive operations, forming a new company to be called Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. The deal is worth nearly $2 billion. The companies previously received antitrust approval for the proposed transaction from the European Commission, the Japan Fair Trade Commission, Brazil's Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Economica (CADE) and Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission. Regulatory approval was recently received from antitrust authorities in Mexico.

InTechnology plc, a storage equipment distributor and storage service provider, has created LANnet, a communications network for its Managed Data Services (MDS) customers. The LANnet network will reportedly allow companies to send large volumes of data at high speed to its data centers around the UK for backup and archiving.

The SCSI Trade Association (STA), a consortium established to support and promote SCSI technology, announced that the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) Technical Committee T10 has completed its work on the Serial-attached SCSI specification and has released the letter ballot, marking the beginning of the implementation phase of Serial-attached SCSI during which companies will solidify their designs.

Start-up Kano Technologies (www.kanotechnologies.com), a Garden Grove, CA-based DVD+RW/R storage-solutions company, will develop the next generation of optical-storage applications and solutions to take full advantage of the performance, capacity, and compatibility offered by the DVD+ format.

FalconStor Software's IPStor has received Novell's "Yes, Tested and Approved" compatibility designation. FalconStor's IPStor complements Novell Cluster Services, Novell Storage Services, and Novell NetDevice (now part of Novell Nterprise Branch Office) products and also helps NetWare customers consolidate their storage while providing business continuity.

Paceline Systems has formed a strategic alliance with Mellanox Technologies Ltd., a provider of InfiniBand technology semiconductors. Mellanox will supply InfiniBand silicon to Paceline, and the companies will work together to develop new products and pursue joint marketing activities.

Fibrenetix, an independent manufacturer of RAID solutions in the UK, has appointed storage specialist CMS Peripherals as an official distributor of its products throughout the country.

TidalWire and McData announced details of a North American distribution partnership between the two companies. According to the agreement, TidalWire can now supply and provide support for McData's full family of Sphereon 3000 and 4000 series fabric switches (the 3232 and the recently released 4500), Intrepid 6000 series directors (the 6064 and the 6140), and SANavigator software.

IBM Tivoli's latest storage resource management software solution is currently being demoed and offered by 161 IBM Total Storage Solution Centers (TSSC). The software provides a set of tools that allows customers to monitor and report on their storage environment. It takes automated actions that simplify storage administration.

Dimension Data and EMC have a global strategic partnership that will enable Dimension Data to unify its relationship with EMC worldwide and to strengthen its current range of storage solutions. The company will leverage its network services and application network focus to deliver next-generation networked storage solutions to its global customer base.

Bull Technologies has selected Emulex's LightPulse 2Gbps LP9002L HBA for integration into the company's series of Escala servers.

ASACA, a developer of high-capacity, high-performance data storage solutions, partnered with Rorke Data, a subsidiary of San Jose-based Bell Microproducts, to demonstrate the FireFly DM series digital virtual library at last month's Radiological Society of North America's RSNA 2002. Integrating new serial advanced technology attachment disk drives, the FireFly delivers up to 48TB of data per library.

Procom Technology announced a new program that addresses the storage needs of the medical industry. As part of the program, Procom is assembling a dedicated distribution channel to sell NetFORCE storage solutions to medical industry resellers and OEMs, providing hospitals, laboratories, and research facilities with secure, scalable, and fault-tolerant data storage solutions.

Agile Storage has changed its name to ClariStor to reflect the company's value proposition to provide customers with a clear approach for delivering and managing next-generation file services.—Compiled by Marcy Koff


To the Editor

The article, "Disk-to-disk increases backup-and-restore speeds," by Frank Sowin, in the November 2002 issue of InfoStor provides interesting information about the growing use of disk-based systems for backup and restore, but the author's analysis suffers from the implicit assumption that it is not possible to design a backup-and-restore solution that is entirely disk-based. While this assumption has been accurate until relatively recently, it is no longer the case. Avamar [Editor's note: and other vendors] has a backup-and-restore solution that is entirely disk-based, with no requirement for tape archives for operational backup/restore activity.

Disk-based backup and restore can provide dramatic operational advantages over traditional backup architectures (all of which have been designed in the context of tape-based storage). Adding disk components to these architectures can provide operational improvements but does nothing to address the inherent design constraints of these solutions.

In particular, I take issue with Mr. Sowin's closing paragraph: "...[A] pure disk-to-disk backup solution cannot completely replace the overall functionality of a well-managed disk-to-tape operation...." We believe that it is possible for disk-based backup and restore not only to completely replace tape-based backup functionality, but to substantially improve upon it. With the efficiencies gained from using the random accessibility of hard disk storage, we store versions of backups far more cost effectively than today's large tape solutions, and our fault tolerance provides for both component and site disaster through RAID-like data protection and mirroring. All of this comes with the inherent benefits of disk over tape: online accessibility and ease of management.

To be fair, the technology and the products in this space are changing very rapidly, and many of the developments I referred to here are quite recent. I believe that this situation, however, supports one of the basic theses of Mr. Sowin's article: Backup and restore are extremely important and valuable management functions. Although these functions have been traditionally associated with tape-based implementations, it is the functionality—not the technology—that users must look to when assessing the solution appropriate for their environment.

Dr. Kevin C. Daly
President, Avamar Technologies


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